Free entry to Merwin Meadows

Changes are coming to Merwin Meadows Park on Lovers Lane after the Parks and Recreation Commission decided to change its fee policy and develop a new landscape plan.

During the Board of Selectmen’s Feb. 16 meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce said residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the park’s entry fee. As a result, he said, “there will be no fees for Wilton residents to use Merwin Meadows this year.”

Non-residents will still have to pay to use the park, and non-resident family season passes will be limited to 50.

“Because we need to monitor who’s in and out of the park,” Pierce said, residents will still need to get passes, which may be obtained at the Parks and Recreation office in Comstock Community Center.

Landscape plan

This fiscal year, the Board of Selectmen allocated $10,000 to Parks and Recreation to develop a landscape plan for Merwin Meadows.

Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Mark Ketley said the plan — which includes facility upgrades, effective use of the space and functionality — will look at “the park, the parks and grounds maintenance facility, the parking lots, and the soccer field.”

Ketley told The Bulletin the commission is “looking at the existing facility with an eye toward modernization, renovation and expansion.”

“We want to make sure that we use the space wisely and efficiently for anything we do, while keeping the small New England feel the park has at this time,” he said.

Ketley said the commission is in the process of sending out requests for proposals for landscape architects, who will work with town agencies and interested parties to develop a schematic for a capital plan.

Ketley said a resident has also started an effort to raise funds to rebuild the park’s playground and said free access for Wiltonians will help that effort because “people aren’t going to want to give money if they won’t have access to the playground.”

Ketley said it’s been a long time since any “major work” has been done at Merwin Meadows and this new landscape project will take about three or four years.

“It’s a wide-open canvas — we don’t really know what it’s going to look like, but we want it to be the best,” he said. “This really should be a crown jewel of Wilton.”